I sampled three new-to-me TV series this weekend. Here are my less-than-professional reviews:
Premise: Someone in NY is taking a page (or pages) out of author Richard Castle's books, mirroring the murders almost perfectly. Richard Castle is, of course, called in to consult, much to the irritation of the lead detective on the case, a woman. Case is solved, but Castle, having recently succumbed to writer's block, has found a new muse in the not-quite-hard-boiled detective, and uses his connections to score an indefinite ride-along with her.
Review: I've watched three epiodes now, and I'm really enjoying it. While the detective is very serious, a dedicated, no-nosense cop, Castle is fun-loving and a good foil for her. There is plenty of snappy dialogue, a good dose of sexual tension, and some fun side characters to offload the heavy drama. Definitely plan to keep watching.
Mad Men (AMC)
Premise: Not nearly so defined. This show came off as an artsy glimpse of the Manhattan advertising game in the 1950's. Don Draper is the show's lead character, an executive ad man trying to juggle his job, his wife and family, and his mistress(es), and maybe even his identity.
Review: There was so much cigarette smoke swirling around on the screen, I could barely breathe in my own living room. A doctor actually lit up in the exam room--right before the...ahem...exam. Ironic that Mr. Draper was working on a new ad campaign for Lucky Strike cigarettes. But I digress... If I could sum up this show in one word, I would say intense. Or maybe skanky. The show, it seems, takes itself very seriously, whereas most of the characters don't really seem to. Very interesting. I could watch another.
No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency (HBO)
Premise: Not entirely sure. I haven't read the books by Alexander McCall Smith, and all I was able to gather by watching (and missing the beginning), was that the show centered around a lady detective, Precious Ramotswe, starting up her agency in Botswana. Vague, I know.
Review: It all felt very vague. Whereas I'd come in at the beginning with Castle and Mad Men, this is the end of the season for N1LDA. And while I liked the premise and even the characters, I thought the show seemed to be moving very slowly. It could be that my sensibilities are not refined enough for these cable shows--I need the rapid-fire, instant gratification of plain-jane network TV. Or it could be I was tired. I plan on giving this show another shot to win me over. (Until my HBO is no longer free and I have to let it go...)